Judges Go to Court to Ax Retirement Age
Zemba, Liz, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
After nearly two decades on the bench, Westmoreland County Juvenile Court Judge John J. Driscoll said he does not want to be forced out of a job simply because he celebrated his 70th birthday in February.
On Jan. 1, Driscoll will have to step aside because Pennsylvania judges are required to retire at the end of the year in which they turn 70. His forced departure will come three years before his 10- year term expires in 2016.
Driscoll will not go without a fight. He and five other judges have filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court seeking the right to decide on their own when to retire.
"I joined in this action because I really love my work," Driscoll said on Thursday, a day after Philadelphia attorney Robert C. Heim filed the civil action in Harrisburg. "I feel very useful, and if this mandatory age provision is unconstitutional, I would not want to have my time and work terminated by something that is unconstitutional."
The judges contend the mandatory retirement provision is age discrimination that violates their constitutional rights. The suit notes that by 2030 there will be more than 75 million Americans 65 and older.
Joining Driscoll are Northampton County Judge Leonard N. Zito and Philadelphia judges John W. …